Topeka Gov. Kathleen Sebelius on Friday vetoed a bill that she said would have exempted health care providers, including doctors, from the Kansas Consumer Protection Act.
The bill was opposed by Attorney General Paul Morrison, Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson, plaintiff's attorneys and consumer groups, including Lawrence-based Kansas Advocates for Better Care.
They said the measure would make it more difficult for consumers who were wronged to seek redress. Sebelius agreed with them.
Plus, she said, "one can only expect that other professions would be encouraged to seek their own exemptions should this bill become law."
But supporters of the bill disagreed with Sebelius' description of it.
The Kansas Medical Society issued a statement saying it was "very disappointed" in Sebelius' veto.
The medical society said the measure was needed to address a narrow issue raised in a recent Kansas Supreme Court case. Without the bill, they said, more litigation will occur and that would lead to higher malpractice premiums for health care providers, which will be passed on to consumers.
When the legislative session reconvenes Wednesday, the Legislature could try to override the veto, which would require a two-thirds majority. That would take 84 votes in the 125-member House, and 27 votes in the 40-member Senate. The measure was approved earlier this month by the House 97-26 and the Senate 24-13.
"We are in the process of carefully reviewing the governor's veto message, and will be discussing the options available," the medical society said.